Thompson started his sportswriting career while a student at the University of Missouri in Columbia, having covered Missouri sports and writing as a columnist for the School of Journalism's Columbia Missourian.
Between his junior and senior years, he interned at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and later was the LSU beat writer there. He later moved to the Kansas City Star, where he covered a wide variety of sports events including Super Bowls, Final Fours, The Masters, and The Kentucky Derby.
Thompson is a native of Clarksdale in northern Mississippi, the son of Mary Thompson. His late father, Walter Wright Thompson, an attorney, played a pivotal role in Clarksdale's emergence as a tourist destination based on blues music. The senior Thompson was an ardent Democrat who was the Mississippi finance chairman for the 1984 John Glenn presidential campaign. He later supported Michael Dukakis, and Bill Clinton in their campaigns against George Herbert Walker Bush.
In 2008, after watching the University of Alabama narrowly defeat Louisiana State University in a home game in Baton Rouge, Thompson described Tiger Stadium as "the best place in the world to watch a sporting event."
Thompson's topics have covered a wide range of sports issues, from football, basketball, and baseball, to car racing, sports history, Father's Day, and bullfighting. Thompson also covered the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup in the Sub-continent of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
His 2010 article Ghosts of Mississippi inspired the 2012 ESPN 30 for 30 series documentary film "The Ghosts of Ole Miss" about the 1962 football team's perfect season and concurrent violence and rioting over integration of the segregated university by James Meredith. In this story he states a cross was burned in his yard as a child. No evidence supports this claim.
SAMPLING OF ARTICLES
- "Pulled pork and pigksin: a love letter to Southern football"
- "An obsession realized: Manning and the Super Bowl"
- "Patterson rumbles to glory as Eagles romp"
- "OTL: The Burden of Being Myron Rolle"
- "Test of Time: In defense of a game that lasts five days"
- "Why you should care about cricket"; alternate title: "In Tendulkar country"
- "Bangladesh madly in love with cricket"
Sports History / Issues
- "O'Neil was the real 'voice' of America"
- "Thompson: Contempt for the system"
- "Outrageous Injustice"
- "Believeland: A proud city forgets 'The Player Who Left" and remembers what it used to be"
- Chet Hilburn, The Mystique of Tiger Stadium: 25 Greatest Games: The Ascension of LSU Football (Bloomington, Indiana: WestBow Press, 2012), p. 7
- Thompson, Wright (February 2010). "Ghosts of Mississippi". Outside the Lines. ESPN. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
- Thompson, Wright (October 30, 2012). "'Ghosts' a story of family, home". ESPN Films. ESPN.com. Retrieved November 3, 2012.